CCA MFA 2021

Timid Spectre

Installation, acrylic glass, leaves, paper

130 in × 130 in


Installation, plaster, sand, stone, plastic, etc.

48 in × 64 in × 48 in

丼 Donburi

Installation, travel case, letters, metal, etc.

24 in × 16 in × 36 in


Installation, metal, photography printed on organza

32 in × 64 in × 48 in

Free Range Visitor

Installation, tumbleweed, plastic seal wrap sheets, plastic evidence tents, red and blue LED lights

140 in × 18 in  × 80 in

Roadside Trip

Mixed-media installation

Artist Statement

I look closely at the space between the individual and the surrounding world. I believe that self-consciousness is the key factor separating one's self and others, and is reinforced by the structure of today’s society. In answer to the spectacle of this era overwhelmed by modernization and absurd environment we are facing, I study the limitation of the concept of monument used in contemporary art, address the struggle of identities, conflicting subject-object and the truth of meaningless life. I propose a new form of monument recognizing individuals not as the identity of people, but as wandering isolated multitudes sharing the feeling of “not feeling at home”, endeavor to recover the echo of nature, and survive in this isolated social environment. Regarding human society and civilization as the boundary between individuals and the world, my art practice becomes a method to maintain the fragile connection between people and life. I combine absurdism in existentialism and Oriental philosophy like Zen to find the principle of life that appreciates every fragment of the world without hierarchy. I try to use the idea of living in the world as fluidity without certainty to solve the problematic subject-object conflict. Individuals are shaped by the environment so that the world is a part of us. Art practice makes us become a part of the world as well, which is presented as the trace of multitudes’ interaction with the environment, it’s a trace of memory. Practice of art then becomes the marker of individual’s existence. At the same time through the experience of audiences, it is also the monument of multitudes who share the feeling of being strangers to the world. Art, to me, is the absurd monument for absurd multitudes in the absurd environment.

My practice focuses on shaping the experience for the audience with ambiguity and reconstructing reality through fragments of life. I make multimedia installations with simple colors and a range of scales. These works occupy the space with film-like visual language including light and tone to emphasize the atmosphere of the unfamiliar. Artificial materials are integrated with geometric shapes and grids to complicate original understanding, and create both surreal and uncanny scenes. My installations include multiple parts being unified to shape a series of confusing monuments. I begin my works with concepts, while concentrating more on perceptual experience and treat art as the playground - to escape from daily life for both artists and audiences. I take art as a way to abandon efficiency, bring the dream to reality, and return the artificial world to the aesthetics of nature through making absurd stages and monuments. By simulating the natural landscape, I raise this topic of isolated consciousness wandering in an indifferent world as ephemera.

Zy (Zhongyu) Yuan is a Chinese artist grown up in Shanghai and spent seven years in California studying contemporary art. Zy’s works have been exhibited both in California and Shanghai since 2017. Personal experience of Zy embodies his art practice with culture, architecture, film theory and philosophy. Changing living environments enable him be aware of the frustration of double consciousness between identities. He starts to consider art as a common language to blur the struggles of the absurd world, in the belief that the beauty of personal fate lies in the tragedy of modern civilization, and uses “uncanny” as a main theme to represent meaning as well as meaninglessness of life. Since 2018, Zy focuses on art practice as an answer to isolated social environment and a movement against efficiency.